There is regular upkeep around the house that, like clockwork, needs doing once a week. (That to-do list does not stop for anyone or anything.) But it’s also important to not skip out on the yearly maintenance tasks that keep your home in tip-top shape. A regular calendar reminder to make sure your HVAC system is in working order, your carpets are cleaned, and your lawn is aerated can save both time and money in the long run.
As the seasons change, it’s especially important to put regular HVAC cleaning and maintenance on your to-do list. York, whose heating and cooling systems have been working in American homes for more than a century, makes that easier than ever with their zoning temperature controls and extended warranty.
With this aspect of annual (and semi-annual) maintenance and a few others in mind, we caught up with two experts from the Good Housekeeping Institute to talk about how such extra attention can keep important parts of your home looking good and running smoothly, year after year.
Make sure your HVAC is healthy
When it comes to HVAC systems, says Rachel Podell, chief technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute, “Maintenance is a cost-effective way to extend the life of appliances, as opposed to having to replace a broken-down unit.” Simple jobs like changing the filter can be done regularly on your own. However, for things like checking ductwork and cleaning the furnace and compressor, she says it’s important to invest annually in more thorough tune-ups by a trained HVAC professional.
One easy tactic to keep your HVAC running smoothly? “Consider looking for a system that offers zoned temperature control, whereby different areas of your home can have different temperatures concurrently,” says Podell. Not only is it ideal for providing more indoor comfort, but it can help save on energy bills. Zoned temperature control eliminates hot or cold spots and allows different individuals in different areas to enjoy their ideal temperature. York offers controls that can be operated via WiFi, making it easy to adjust temperature zones from a phone or tablet.
De-cobweb your vents
It’s also important to take care of HVAC air vents throughout the house, says Carolyn Forte, home appliances and cleaning products director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. She suggests pulling out your vacuum and running it around all your registers and air conditioning vents: “They can get cobwebby,” she says. “Using the soft dusting-brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner, go over all the grills and the grates of your vents and exhaust.”
Do a carpet deep clean
Carpets should be professionally cleaned once a year, says Forte. Not only does this banish dirt, a regular clean keeps carpets soft and plush. And if you’re doing a deep vacuum on your own, don’t forget the doormats. “Vacuum the top, and then flip them over and vacuum them on the back,” Forte explains. “Doing that pushes out all the dirt that gets trapped in the fibers—then you can vacuum it up off the floor.”
Keep windows sparkling
Forte says that when it comes to window washing—something she recommends as part of seasonal cleaning—simpler is better. “Start from the inside out, with your product of choice and a microfiber cloth. Just work your way around the house!” One tip? Tackle the windows on an overcast day—too much sun will dry products before you can get to them with your cloth, which can result in streaky glass. If there are some panes you can’t reach, call a professional window cleaner at least once per year.
Pay attention to your patio
“A yearly spruce-up on the driveway and twice a year for patio is good,” says Podell. This is also a great time to turn your attention to outdoor fixtures and furnishings, says Forte, who suggests using water and cleaners specially meant for the outdoors to ensure the safety of any nearby grass or flowers. “Clean up any planters, pots, and patio furniture that you had outside that may have been out over the winter. This will get them ready for spring and summer fun!”
Don’t forget lawn care
Want to make sure your lawn looks and feels healthy? “Proper mowing and watering are paramount, but once a year you should also be considering aeration, in which the soil is perforated to better allow water and nutrients to penetrate the base of grass and plants and fertilization,” says Podell. If you have a bigger yard, it might be worth investing in your own equipment, but aeration is also an easy task to hire out.